The World Bank has approved a US $ 310 million loan to reduce and mitigate the flood risks in the lower Kelani basin in Colombo and improve the weather forecasting and early warning systems across Sri Lanka.
The Climate Resilience Multi-Phase Programmatic Approach project is the first of a three-phase investment programme totalling US $ 774 million and to be implemented
over eight years.
Sri Lanka ranked the second among the countries most affected by extreme weather events in 2017 and is expected to see a 1.2 percent annual GDP loss by 2050, due to climate change.
Floods impacted around 14 million people between 2010 and 2018 and droughts affected about 12 million people.
Evidence suggests flood frequency will increase and that nearly 87 percent of Sri Lankans are living in areas likely to experience extreme temperatures and rainfall that will impact their lives. “This comprehensive climate resilience programme will reduce losses to people’s livelihoods and public assets while reducing shocks on the economy,” said World Bank County Director for Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough.
“Compelling evidence has informed this long-term programme, which will help the government build socially responsive infrastructure and communication systems, to protect lives and assets,” she added.
The programme aligns with the government’s plans to ensure fiscal and physical resilience and reduce the vulnerability of Sri Lanka’s economy in the aftermath of the 2016 and
The new forecasting systems are expected to benefit the entire nation, including 3.5 million beneficiaries living in the flood-prone areas in 25 river basins.
Senior Disaster Management Specialists and Task Team Leaders Federica Ranghieri and Suranga Kahandawa emphasised that the data used in the project would help inform the public and policymakers in decision-making related to responding to climate change threats.
The project, financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, consists of a loan with a maturity of 32 years, including a grace period of seven years.
The first phase of the programme will be implemented over a five-year period and the preparation of the following phases will overlap to ensure effective implementation.
The programme has been designed with flexibility for adaptive learning and the potential for private sector participation.